“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision”
Mankind can many times be animalistic in nature. Paul, who was a partaker of this beastly treatment when he preached in Thessalonica, warned us of these people. They have shown up again in the same city many centuries later. The dogs, evil workers, and religious fanatics in Thessaloniki bore down upon us today. It was the most violent scene yet in all of our evangelism even though we have been moving around the city to different places in our preaching. I thank the Lord that we had seven good men and no ladies present on the street with us this afternoon. The multitude gathered as we sang, passed literature, and preached. You could sense a confrontation of spirits in the air. Men, women, young, and old began screaming at us. New Testaments were ripped up in our faces, and then, they themselves got in our faces. However, some listened and received our witness. Those who were receptive became objects of attack by the ravenous and depraved. We continued on even as those who were receptive began leaving since things were getting out of control. The crowd of evil workers began spitting upon us. A lady started swinging her purse and hitting Bro. Tony who was holding one of the banners. We pleaded on for their souls. Men began approaching Bro. Angelo in an attempt to stop his preaching in Greek. We formed a line in front to stop this advance. The crowd grew with half listening and half stirred with rage. I must confess that it is normally within my nature to be a fighter. This is not the most spiritual virtue of Christlikeness but is nevertheless how my constitution is made up. Today, it was as if the sweet Spirit of God spoke to me with the question, “Are you willing to be beaten for the name of Jesus”? Honestly, I usually would not be that spiritual, but today in the quietness of that moment, I submitted to that possibility. The shoving and pushing began. Obscene gestures and curses filled the air. Threats were made with one man saying they would kill us while another said he would crucify Angelo. As things continued, another man struck Angelo in the groin. There were more hits at our arms which shielded the preacher. One man tried to force us to kiss his idolatrous cross by shoving it in our faces. The screaming continued while the crowd increased again. Our men held valiantly for the truth and then broke out in song to the worthy Lord. Jesus continued to be lifted up and preached to the crowd that had grown to about one hundred persons. The security patrol sat nearby on their motorcycles just observing the chaos. This all continued about the space of two hours. The Lord protected us from further violence as we were not privileged to suffer anything else than the above for the Master’s name. His hedge had clearly held the advance. In spite of what the dogs, evil workers, and concision might do to us, we got on our knees together with heads’ bowed, praying for these souls for whom Christ died and thanking our heavenly Father for the privilege of representing His Son. As we got up from the pavement, a dear young lady approached Angelo to thank him for our witness and to declare to that she was a born-again believer. She said she had been watching us come week after week with the gospel and that she felt forced by the Lord to approach us. “I am sorry for what they are doing to you. They are animals. Please do not stop what you are doing. Thank you! Can I please come to your church? The Lord wants me to be there. Please tell me how, when, and where you meet.” With tears in our eyes, we left rejoicing. Another man who had fearfully left the tumult called Angelo later to ask if he was alright. He also stated that he would come to church Sunday. May the Lamb of God receive the praise which He deserves!
His servant and yours for the sake of the gospel,